Australian screen industry releases Covid-19 guidelines to aid return to work

Neighbours

The Australian screen production industry has released a set of “Covid-safe guidelines” to help get the industry back to work.

The guidelines have been developed by the Australian Sector Task Force, which comprises the Australian Film Television & Radio School (AFTRS), Screen Australia, the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), Screen Producers Australia (SPA), State and Territory Agencies, Guilds, ABC, SBS, Ausfilm and other major production companies.

Drafted in consultation with the Commonwealth Department on Health and global law film Clyde & Co, the guidelines are to support a safe return to production in the country. They are considered to be a ‘live’ document that will continue to evolve.

AFTRS CEO Nell Greenwood commented: “The number one priority of the Task Force is the safety and well-being of production teams and those who work with them. The guidelines have been an incredible collaborative effort across the industry and are a significant step in getting screen production back on the road to recovery.”

Every production will be required to draw up its own personalised Covid-safe production plan identifying the specific control measures needed to mitigate the risks Covid-19 poses to its personnel, given each production’s location, scale and content.

The guidelines detail both mandatory controls, informed by the latest government medical advice and State WHS legislation, and detailed, department-by-department control measures that productions can draw on to create their own Covid-safe plans, covering guidance on issues including the number of people on set, shooting in close proximity, use of personal protective equipment, hygiene control measures, medical advice, and travel and transport.

The Task Force consulted widely with industry upon the creation of the guidelines, with more than 300 MEAA members attending a recent Zoom meeting to provide input and feedback into the draft, while SPA consulted with approximately 60 of its member businesses including Fremantle Australia, CJZ, Every Cloud Productions, Aquarius Films, Porchlight Films and Ludo Studio.

Production companies with projects either in or about to return to production, such as Fremantle Australia, Endemol Shine and See-Saw Films, also contributed to the guidelines with their experience of managing and planning COVID-safe productions.

Chris Oliver-Taylor, Fremantle CEO Asia-Pacific, said: “The industry has worked collaboratively so that we can all get back to doing what we love – creating, producing and shooting TV shows. Fremantle, through its production of Neighbours, has been leading the world in returning to a safe production environment and we have been thrilled to work with AFTRS as we all look to restart the industry, which can only be a great thing for audiences and the economy.”

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